Lemon-Grass
1293196989Lemon-Grass-small-size.jpg Cymbopogon Citratus Syn Andropogon schoenanthus FAM: Gramineae The Biological name of Lemon Grass is "Symbopogon flexuous.” Lemon grass (Cymbopogon flexuosus Stapf.), is a potential aromatic plant, yields “Lemon grass oil of commerce.” The important constituent of the oil is “citral,” a terpene aldehyde, which is mainly used for the manufacture of vitamin-A. Lemon Grass is a tall tropical grass. The fresh stalks and leaves have a clean lemon like odour because they contain an essential oil, which is also present in lemon peel. Lemon grass is a long thick grass with leaves at the top and a solid portion several inches long at the root end. The lower portion is sliced or pounded and used in cooking. As a spice, fresh lemon grass is preferred for its vibrant flavor, but also sold in dried form. The dried spice is available in several forms: chopped in slices, cut and sifted, powdered, or as oil can extract from the plant. Cymbopogon is a genus of about 55 species of grasses, native to warm temperate and tropical regions of the Old World. Common names include lemongrass, barbed wire grass, silky heads, oil grass, citronella grass, or fever grass amongst many others. Lemongrass is a very attractive ornamental grass that makes a handsome addition to both perennial and herb gardens. OTHER NAMES French: Herbe de citron German: Zitronengras Italian: Erba di limone Spanish: Hierba de Limon Indian: Bhustrina, Sera Indonesian: sere, Sereh Lao: Bai Mak Nao Malay: Serai Singhalese: Sera Thai: Takrai PARTS USED : Leaves, Panicle Sensory quality Fresh and lemon -like, with a hint of rose fragrance. Culture: Full sun / light shade, moist loam soil with organic matter. Plant in frost-free spots. Ph of the soil: 4.3 - 8.4
 






Cymbopogon Citratus


Syn Andropogon schoenanthus
FAM: Gramineae
 
    
                   
           

The Biological name of Lemon Grass is "Symbopogon flexuous.” Lemon grass (Cymbopogon flexuosus Stapf.), is a potential aromatic plant, yields “Lemon grass oil of commerce.” The important constituent of the oil is “citral,” a terpene aldehyde, which is mainly used for the manufacture of vitamin-A.

Lemon Grass is a tall tropical grass. The fresh stalks and leaves have a clean lemon like odour because they contain an essential oil, which is also present in lemon peel.

Lemon grass is a long thick grass with leaves at the top and a solid portion several inches long at the root end. The lower portion is sliced or pounded and used in cooking. As a spice, fresh lemon grass is preferred for its vibrant flavor, but also sold in dried form. The dried spice is available in several forms: chopped in slices, cut and sifted, powdered, or as oil can extract from the plant. Cymbopogon is a genus of about 55 species of grasses, native to warm temperate and tropical regions of the Old World. Common names include lemongrass, barbed wire grass, silky heads, oil grass, citronella grass, or fever grass amongst many others. Lemongrass is a very attractive ornamental grass that makes a handsome addition to both perennial and herb gardens.

     
                 
OTHER NAMES      
           
French: Herbe de citron
German: Zitronengras
Italian: Erba di limone
Spanish: Hierba de Limon
Indian: Bhustrina, Sera
Indonesian: sere, Sereh
Lao: Bai Mak Nao
Malay: Serai
Singhalese: Sera
Thai: Takrai
     
                   
           

PARTS USED : Leaves, Panicle
     
           

Sensory quality Fresh and lemon -like, with a hint of rose fragrance.
     
           

Culture: Full sun / light shade, moist loam soil with organic matter. Plant in frost-free spots. Ph of the soil: 4.3 - 8.4
     
                   
           

ORIGIN, DISTRIBUTION AND PRODUCTION

The species considered to have originated in India. It grows wild in many tropical and subtropical parts of Asia, Africa, and America. The plant is growing for its oil in the West India Islands and in Central America, South America, Thailand, Bangladesh, The Comoros Islands, Madagascar, and China. Although, the oil has been knowing since very early times in India, the systematic cultivation and distillation of the grass were started in Kerala only about 90 years ago. At present, it is growing commercially in the northern district of Travancore and Cochin, Assam, Maharashtra, and parts of Uttar Pradesh. The crop is under the cultivation: in India in an area of about 200ha.
     
                   
           

AREA AND PRODUCTION


Traditionally, India has been the largest supplier of lemon grass oil to the word market but has ceased to be so any longer. The production of oil, which was 1800 t in 1961-62, has declined to about 400 t at present. The Indian monopoly in the lemon grass trade in the world market has been broken due to the entry of Guatemala and a few other Latin American states including Brazil and Mexico, Puerto Rico, Dominica, Haiti, and china. Besides this, the introduction Litsea cubeba oil as a substitute source for citrol and the expansion of lemon grass cultivation to non-traditional area in African countries is the other contributing factor for this steady decline. Still, due to the expansion of indigenous perfumery and related industries and the increase in the price of derived aroma- chemicals, the demand for the oil has increased considerably, thereby creating scope for the expansion of lemon grass cultivation in the country.
     
    

               
           

DESCRIPTION OF THE PLANT


C. Flexuosus var. flexuosus grows to a height of about 3 m. the leaves of the plant are linear, lanceolate, 125 cm long and 1.7 cm broad. The panicles are very large, drooping, lax, grayish or grayish-green, rarely purple-tinged, with the raceme pairs in dense masses. The plant is spreading, 100-135 cm tall, slightly hairy, the lower glumes of the sessile spikeletes are 3-4 and rarely 4-5 mm long, 1 mm wide, with 1-3 definite or obscure introcrainal nerves, shallowly concave, with one or two depressions.
     
                   
           

TYPES AND VARIETIES


There are two main types of lemon grass namely, the East Indian or true lemon grass (C.flexuosus Ness ex. steud wats) and the West Indian (South American) lemon grass (C.Citratus (D.C) Stapf). The oil obtained by the distillation of the grass of C.flexuosus, called the East Indian oil, is the genuine oil of commercial importance. It is produce in Kerala and popularly called the Cochin oil, since it shipped mainly from the port of Cochin. A small quantity of oil is also obtain from C. pendulous, popularly known as North Indian lemon grass or Jammu lemon grass, since it is grown mainly in Jammu and other North Indian States. The West Indian (South American) oil of C. Citratus is extract in Indo- China, Madagascar, Guatemala, Brazil, Haiti, Tanganyika, Congo, and the West Indies. It found that the East Indian oil, produced in South India, is readily soluble in alcohol. Both the types have practically the same citral content (75-86%), but the West Indian oil along with citral contains other aldehydes, which lower the quantity of the oil. In C. flexuosus, the red- stemmed plant with chocolate to purple coloured stems yields the genuine oil, while the white-stemmed grass does not. Recently, a new species C. khasianus has been discovering which is important for its geraniol content. Some lemon grass varieties released for cultivation given below:
     
                   
           

Sugandhi (OD-19)

It was release from the Aromatic and Medicinal Plants Research Station, (AMPRS) Odakkali, Kerala. This variety is red in color and is adapted to a wide range of soil and climate conditions. The plant grows from 1-1.75 m height and with profuse tillering yields 80-199 kg/ha of oil with 80-88% citral under rainfed conditions.
     
                   
           

Pragathi

It is a clonal selection from OD -19 evolved at the CIMAP, Lucknow. The variety is tall with a dark purple leaf-sheath and is adapted to the North Indian plains and Terai belts of subtropical and tropical climates. The average oil content is 0.63% with 86% being the citral content.
     
                   
           

Praman

Evolved through clonal selection from C. Pendulus at the CIMAP, Lucknow, it is a tetraploid plant with a profuse tillering habit. The leaves are erect and medium in size. This variety is report to yield 227 kg/ha/annum of oil with 82% citral content.
     
                   
           

RRL -16

It is evolve from C. Pendulus and released for cultivation from the RRL, Jammu as Jammu lemon grass. The average yield of the herb is 15-20 t/ha/annum, giving 100-110 kg of oil. The oil content varies from 0.6-0.8% with 80% citral content.
     
                   
           

CKP-25

It is an interspecific hybrid between C. khasianus and C. Pendulus, developed by the RRL, Jammu. The strain gives an herb yield of 80-85 t and 350-400 kg/ha/annum of oil. The citral content in the oil ranges from 80-85%.

In addition to the above, 'OD-408' from the AMPRS, Odakkali, RRL-39 from RRL Jammu and 'Kaveri' and 'Krishna' from the CIMAP, Regional Station, Bangalore, have been recently released as high-yielding varieties for cultivation the other varieties under cultivation are SD-68 and GRL-1
     
                   
           

SOIL

It flourishes on a wide variety of soils ranging from rich loam to poor laterite. In sandy loam and red soils, it requires good manuring. Calcareous and water logged soils should be avoided as they are unsuitable for its cultivation.
     
                   
           

CLIMATE

It requires a warm, humid climate with plenty of sunshine and a rainfall ranging from 200-250cm, well distributed over the year. In areas where the rainfall is poor, it can be grow with supplemental irrigations. It grows well at altitudes between 1000-1200m.
     
                   
           

PLANT CULTIVATION

Lemon grass is a perennial tufted grass with long, sharp-edged blades. It grows in dense clumps in tropical or subtropical climates. Propagation is by dividing the root clump. The plants last three to four years and are harvest every three to five months. It is growing throughout Southeast Asia, Southern India, Sri Lanka, Central Africa, Brazil, Guatemala, the US, and the West Indies.

In late summer and fall, lemon grass blooms in loose, fawn colored sprays above the leaves. While it flowers freely in warm, inland parts of the region, this is a shy bloomer in cool, coastal gardens. In gardens, lemon grass thrives in open situations where it has plenty of room. This makes it a better candidate for the vegetable patch than for the border, although it does fine in uncrowned beds of any kind.

To promote tender new growth in short order, give lemon grass humus-rich garden soil with good tilt and quick drainage. This moderate plant likes just enough of everything; it grows slowly in dry soils, and although it appreciates, prefers regular watering, it sulks in constantly damp soils. It does not need artificial fertilizing, though a handful of aged compost, dairy manure, and alfalfa pellets will give lemon grass (and almost anything else) a terrific boost in late spring. If growth flags in dry summers, treat it to a drink of manure and compost tea each week and almost the new growth appears.

Planting is doing in the last week of May or in the first week of June-July. The planting should be done at a distance of 60x30 cm. Improved varieties are "Pragati, Pranam, Cauveri, Krishna" etc. During the first year of planting 2-3, cuttings obtained. A yield of 35 to 45 tones obtained. The yield of oil from second year onwards should be about 175 - 225 Kg per Hectare. An income of Rs. 28,000 per Hectare may receive from the crop every year.
     
                   
           

PROPAGATION

It is propagate vegetative through culms. The culms are plant about 4cm deep in the soil and approximately 10-15 cm should be about the soil. The best planting time is after winter. It can be grow even on marginal lands.
     
                   
           

IRRIGATION

After planting, if there are no rains, the crops should be irrigated every alternate day for about a month. It is recommended that 4 to 6 irrigations are given during the period February to June under North Indian conditions, for an optimum yield.
     
                   
           

PESTS AND DISEASES

Insects and Nematodes


Pest infestation is very low for this crop.However,the infestation by the spindle-bug(Clovia bipunctata) from Odakkali, and severe damage by the stem-boring caterpillar of Chilotrea under North Indian conditions have been reported ,Spraying with Malathion (0.2%) can control the insects. Nematodes like Tylenchorhychus vulgaris, Rotylenchulus reinformis, Helicotylenchus spp. and Pratylenchus spp. Have also been found to infect the grass, but the extent of damage to the crops has not been studied.     
           

DISEASES

Several diseases are reported on lemon grass, but none are serious enough to a cause major reduction in oil yield. Among these diseases,little-leaf,malformation of the inflorescence caused by the fungus,Balensia scierotica (pat) Hohnel,is reported to reduce the seed yield.Helminthosporium sacchari ,H.leucostylum,Drechslera victoriae and D.Helmi,all species of fungi , cause leaf-spot diseases on this crop. Two strains of Curvularia andropogonia, viz.CLS and CLB, are reported to cause leaf-spot and leaf-blight, respectively. Leaf-spots are also reported to be caused by C.verruciformis, C.trifoli and Collitotrichum graminicola. The other diseases reported on this crop include smut, caused by Tolyposporium christensenni and Ustilago andropogonis, grey blight caused by Fusarium equiseti and F.verticillium, root –rot by Botrydiplodia theobromae, leaf-speck by D.colocasia and leaf-blight by Rhizoctonia solani.

These leaf diseases can be controlled by prophylactic sprays of Dithane M-45 and Dithane –Z-78 @ 3g/l thrice, at intervals of 15 days.
     
                   
           

HARVESTING AND YIELD

The crop is perennial in nature and gives good yields for 5 years. Harvesting is doing by cutting the grass 10 cm above the ground level. During the first year of planting, 3 cuttings are obtained and, subsequently, 5-6 cuttings per year are taken subject to weather conditions. The harvesting season begins in May and continues till the end of January .The first harvest is done about 90 days after planting. The interval from sowing to harvest exerts a considerable influence on the yield and the quality of oil. Both immature and over matured grass gives a lower quantity of oil. For the local type of lemon grass, the optimum interval is 40-50 days. The optimum periods of harvesting, when grown on hilltops and low-lying areas are 60 and 50-55 days, respectively. We may obtain a herbage yield of 15t/harvest and a recovery of oil about 0.3-0.5% from fresh grass. The oil obtained by stema –distillation. Oil yield of about 350-400 kg/ha from the second year onwards considered satisfactory.
     
                   
           

FACTORS INFLUENICNG THE OIL YIELD

The factors influencing the oil production during distillation are:


(i) Storage of the plant material
(ii) Treatment of the material, and
(iii) The method of distillation

The major source of loss is by oxidation and resinification of the essential oils. So, if the material is to be stored before processing, it should be kept in a dry atmosphere with limited air circulation. The cut-grass, when stored in the shade, can increase the oil recovery up to 96 hours and storage for a further period will only decrease the oil yield. The essential oils are enclosed in the oil-glands, oil-sacks and glandular hairs of the plant. Therefore, before distillation, the plant material must be cut into small pieces to enable them to directly expose as many oil-glands as is practically possible. Once the plant material has been reduced in size, it must be distilled immediately. Otherwise, the essential oil, being volatile, will be lost by aerial evaporation. Dipping the chopped lemon grass in sodium chloride solution for 24 hours at 1-2% concentration before distillation has been found to increase the citral content.      
                   
           

UTILIZATION OF SPENT MATERIAL

The residue thrown out after the extraction of the oil is call-spent grass. Cattle relish it when it is hot or converted into silage by adding a dilute solution of molasses. It is also an excellent source of manure. It applied after either composting or in the form of ash by burning .The; waste lemon is also use as fuel for distillation after dying and as cheap packing material for glassware or other fragile objects.
     
                   
           

MAIN CONSTITUENTS

Citral
     
                   
           

ACTIVE CONSTITUENTS

The essential oil (monoterpene) in lemon grass is mainly comprised of citral, the active ingredient in the lemon peel. Further terpenoids in lemon grass oil are nerol, limonene, linalool and beta-caryphyllene. The content of myrcene is low, but still enough to make the oil susceptible to oxidative polymerization.
     
                   
           

CULTIVATION AND USES

Lemon grass is widely used as an herb in Asian (particularly Hmong, Khmer, Thai, Lao, Philippines, Sri Lankan, and Vietnamese) and Caribbean cooking. The stalk itself is too hard to be eating, except for the soft inner part. However, it can be finely sliced and added to recipes. It may also bruised and added whole as these releases the aromatic oils from the juice sacs in the stalk. The main constituent of lemongrass oil is citral.

Lemon grass commonly used in teas, soups, and curries. It is also suitable for poultry, fish, and seafood. It is often used as a tea in African countries (e.g. Togo).East-Indian Lemon Grass (Cymbopogon flexuosus), also called Cochin Grass or Malabar Grass, is native to Cambodia, India, Sri Lanka, Burma, and Thailand while the West-Indian lemon grass (Cymbopogon citratus) is assumed to have its origins in Malaysia. While both can used interchangeably, Citratus is more suited for cooking. In India, C. Citratus is use both as a medical herb and in perfumes.
     
                   
           

CULINARY USES


This is a very pungent herb and is normally use in small amounts. The entire stalk of the grass can be used. The grass blade can be slice very fine and added to soups. The bulb can be bruise and minced for use in a variety of recipes. The light lemon flavor of this grass blends well with garlic, chilies, and cilantro. The herb is frequently used in curries as well as in seafood soups. It is also used to make tea.
     
                   
           

MEDICINAL AND OTHER USES

This grass is rich in a substance called citral, the active ingredient in lemon peel. This substance said to aid in digestion as well as relieves spasms, muscle cramps, rheumatism, and headaches.

The grass considered a diuretic, tonic, and stimulant. A preparation of lemon grass with pepper has used for relief of menstrual troubles and nausea. It induces perspiration, to cool the body and reduce a fever. It is well know a mild insect repellent (citronella) and the essential oil used in perfumery. Lemon grass is also use commercially as the lemon scent in many products including soaps, perfumes, and candles. A related plant, (Cymbopogon nardus) is the ingredient in citronella candles sold to ward off mosquitoes and other insects.
     
                   
           

LEMON GRASS BENEFITS

     
•  Reducing fevers
•  Stomach cramps
•  Flatulence and colic
•  Easing arthritic pain
•  General digestive aid
•  Especially suited for digestive problems in  children.


 
 
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